Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Week of Virtues - Day 2 - Honesty

Honesty Definition:  Truthful; sincere; not lieing or cheating.

There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook.
~Groucho Marx

In recovery, the hardest truth I have had to face thus far, and by face I mean admit to and accept (not like), is that I am selfish and self-centered in most everything that I do and think.  There is not one action that I take at any given moment that does not have a selfish motive behind it.  These actions may also have unselfish motives behind them along with the selfish one.  But the selfish ones can always be identified if I am willing to be honest with myself.  Does being selfish make me a bad person?  I don't believe so.  Does it make me a human being?  Absolutely.   

For example, why do I try to fix other people's problems?  Because I love them and I want them to experience happiness?  Yes. 
I used to stop there thinking I was doing a good thing by trying to help others with their problems.  However, by working Step 4 of a 12 Step recovery program I now know that I try to fix other people's problems in an attempt to control them so that not only they feel better but so that I FEEL BETTER, too!  And working the rest of the 12 steps with a sponsor has taught me how I can be happy whether other people are or not.  What a gift! 
Why do I try to help other alcoholics?  Because I am called to do so by God and by Step 12 to be of service in the spirit of unconditional love?  Absolutely.  Do I also do it because I know it will greatly increase my chances of staying sober, thereby being able to lead a happy life?  You bet! 
For me, the most devastating lies are the ones I tell to myself, including but not limited to:
I'm not an alcoholic.
I can handle this.
I should know better.
I can do anything I put my mind to.
I'm fine.
I know what I am doing.
What are some ways in which you are dishonest with yourself or others and what is your solution?

We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.
~Tad Williams

Honesty plants seeds of pain which grow into beautiful blooms.   ~Marie

L. Annual Honesty (Lunaria annua) is a tall (height about 1 m), hairy-stemmed biennial plant native to the Balkans and south west Asia, and naturalized throughout Europe, North America, and parts of Asia. It has large, pointed oval leaves with marked serrations. The common name "Honesty" arose in the 16th century, and it may be due to the translucent seed-pods which are like flattened pea-pods and borne on the plant through winter. In South-East Asia and elsewhere, it is called the Money Plant, because its seed pods have the appearance of silver coins. In the United States it may also be known as "Silver Dollars," also because of the seed pods. In Denmark it is known as Judaspenge and in The Netherlands as Judaspenning (coins of Judas), an allusion to the story of Judas Iscariot and the thirty pieces of silver he was paid.  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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  1. Marie thank you so much for sharing this....i am really struggling with part of this in my own life....my son is a recovering addict, and I find myself having complete anxiety over the idea of him using agian. Sometimes it feels as if I cannot be happy, unless he is doing okay. I guess to a certain degree that is how a mother is...he is really doing well right now...he is going to meetings and working the 12 step program, and he has been clean for 4 months....but he is having severe maritial problems as a result of everything...so i am continually worrying that it is going to push him over the edge...i want so much for him to continue on the path he is on...i was going to celebrate recovery meetings at our church, but my schedule changed at work, and i cannot go anymore. If you have any advice, i would accept it gracefully. :-) I am sorry that i ended up rambling on and on. You have been such an inspiration to me through your message of the 12 step program and hope here at your wonderful blog. :-)

  2. It took me a long time in Alcoholics Anonymous to see my self-centeredness. EVERYTHING is filtered through MY mind. God is helping me with this.

    Nice post.


  3. How honest- with self, first( thus HP)-
    How aware of moods; and honest
    /forthright ? quite- very.
    Is that selfish and self centered?
    Yes and no.How long do I linger on these things, only as long as it takes to balance and correct/admit the truth.
    step work.( then) adjust/amend ?
    Sometimes seconds, sometimes longer.The quicker we attend to these things the faster we can get back to really listening and helping others!
    ( primary purpose.)Thanks!

  4. Carrie: Al-Anon may be helpful to you. It is suggested to go to a minimum of 6 meetings before deciding if it is for you or not. Feel free to email me directly if you would like to talk more. Hang in there. Everything will be ok. I promise.

    PG: always glad to see you stopped by.

    izzy: primary purpose=helping others. YES! I finally get that.

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  6. Marie, I like how you bring in the honesty plant. I remember the money plant when I was a kid. Honesty is something that I struggle with.

  7. Thank you Marie...for all your encouragment...i will e-mail you soon. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. :-)

  8. Wow all I can say is that you are a great writer! Where can I contact you if I want to hire you?


Thank you for sharing!